Frequently Asked Questions
What accreditation and distinctions does SMCHS
Santa Margarita Catholic High School is fully accredited by
the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a member of the International
Baccalaureate Association. In 1998, the United States Department of Education
awarded SMCHS its highest honor, the Blue Ribbon. In addition, the Visual
and Performing Arts Program received recognition for "Distinction in the
Arts" from the National Endowment for the Arts. Santa Margarita is a seven
-time recipient of the CIF Commissioner's Cup, which honors the top
athletic program in the CIF Southern Section. Santa Margarita has won the
coveted cup more than any other school in the 581-member section. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Santa Margarita was ranked by the Washington Post as one of the top private schools in the nation.
What is SMCHS' School Code?
Santa Margarita's school code is 052563
How many students attend SMCHS?
Enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year is 1,755 students.
What is the average class size?
The average class size is approximately 28 students per
class. Generally, there are fewer students in Honors/AP/IB classes. All
Freshman English and Algebra I classes have 25 students. The student/teacher
ratio is 16:1.
How can I as a parent review grades and discipline?
As a parent you will have access to your student's official
records through Aeries. Parents are mailed their password before their student
starts school at Santa Margarita. If you do not have your student's
password, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the academic requirements?
Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Honors,
Interdisciplinary and the traditional college prep program provide an academic
track to meet the needs of varied learners. The school also offers a
comprehensive Auxiliary Studies Program to assist student with learning
disabilities. In order to graduate from SMCHS, a student must complete 270
credits of course work. Students work with their counselors to plan their
educational path and schedule. For more information, click here
How is honors placement determined?
Placement in honors courses is determined by performance on
the placement exam and some placement exams given by individual SMCHS
departments, as well as previous course work and grades earned in middle
school. Contact our Admissions Office at email@example.com
Do students have the same counselor all four years?
As freshman, SMCHS students are assigned specifically to a
freshman counselor who assists the class with their transition to the high
school environment. In the spring of their freshman year students are assigned
to their "alpha" counselor (assigned by last name) who will be their counselor
until graduation. Full diploma IB students are the only exception. Full IB
students work with the freshman counselor, transition to their alpha counselor
sophomore year and are then assigned to a full IB counselor for their junior
and senior years. International students will work with out International Student Counselor.
How does a student go about meeting with his or
All students are encouraged to see their counselor
regularly. Students may stop by before or after school or during 10 minute
passing or lunch. Sign up boards are outside each counselor's door should
their counselor be in a meeting or unavailable. Students are also encouraged
to email their counselor.
How often do parents meet with counselors?
Parents are welcome to schedule an appointment with their student's counselor at a mutually convenient time for both the family and counselor.
Parents are also invited to attend formal meetings throughout the four years to
discuss schedules, graduation status and the college admission process.
Is tutoring available?
Should a student need additional support in a class, all
SMCHS teachers hold office hours throughout the week to provide additional
assistance to students. The National Honor Society also offers tutoring before
and after school on specific days as well as one-on-one tutoring at a
mutually convenient time. A tutor list is available online through the
counseling department or by clicking
What happens if a student does not pass a class?
Remediation of a grade of D is always recommended and
remediation of a grade of F in any class is required to earn a diploma from
SMCHS. Summer school is offered by Santa Margarita for many classes and the
counseling department offers support in finding remediation options for
classes not offered on campus during the summer. Students are not permitted
to repeat a class the following academic year.
How does the counseling department prepare students
for the college application process?
The SMCHS counseling department provides full-service
college admission support to all students. Students are encouraged to visit
their counselor often, both alone and with parents, to create a realistic and
comprehensive college list. With complete support from beginning to end,
students are given a specific timeline and sequence to prepare for college
admissions. All students graduate with the necessary A-G courses required for
admission to the UC and Cal State systems.
What percentage of SMCHS students continue on
99% of the students in Santa Margarita's class of 2016 continued their education at college. SMCHS is a college preparatory high
school. When students graduate from our school, they have not only exceeded the
state guidelines for high school graduates, they have also met the Cal State
and UC requirements.
What colleges do SM graduates attend?
SMCHS seniors are accepted into the top colleges and
universities in the country. Below are the enrollment statistics for the Class
Enrollment Statistics for the Class of 2016
Total Students in
Senior Class = 424
Where did they go?
California Public Colleges 30%
Private Colleges 9%
Out-of-State Public Colleges 32%
Private Colleges 25%
International Colleges 1%
Four-year Colleges 90%
Two-year Colleges 9%
Catholic Colleges 10%
California Catholic Colleges 4%
Santa Margarita students attend colleges including Boston
College, Bucknell, Clemson, College of the Holy Cross, Cornell, Duke, Fordham,
Georgetown, George Washington, Gonzaga, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Loyola
Marymount University, Michigan State, NYU, Penn State, Princeton, Purdue,
Northwestern, Rice, Southern Methodist University, Stanford, George
Washington, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, Villanova, University of Michigan, University of Oregon, University of Texas and
University of Washington.
What are the school hours?
What is the school uniform?
SMCHS has a dress and personal appearance code. All students
are required to purchase a uniform from the Campus Store. Information is
supplied in the acceptance notification packets or click
What transportation options are available?
The school offers bus transportation. Click
for more information.
Is SMCHS a closed campus? How secure is the campus?
Once students arrive on campus, they may not leave the
campus without permission from the Attendance and Discipline Office. School
personnel and our campus security department are on patrol 24 hours a day.
All visitors to the campus are required to obtain a visitors badge from the
Are there required volunteer hours for parents?
No, parents are not required to give volunteer hours.
However, we do have an active On-Campus Parent Volunteer Program. This program
is of tremendous value and importance to the school community as it provides
volunteers to assist the faculty and staff in the daily operation of their
classes and/or departments. Yearly, there are more than 250 parents
volunteering on our campus totaling thousands of hours. If you are interested
in volunteering email parent volunteer liaison Diana Harris firstname.lastname@example.org
What is tuition?
$14,300 for Catholic families and $15,850 for non-Catholic
families, a discounted rate is offered for additional students.
How do I apply?
The Application Process at Santa Margarita Catholic is
designed to be as simple as possible for the prospective parent. Click here
What is the shadow program?
Prospective students are encouraged to shadow a current
SMCHS student before making the decision to attend our school. Incoming
freshman students will be paired with a current SMCHS freshman with the same
interests. Shadow Days are from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Call
949.766.6076 for more information.
What placement test is given to incoming freshman?
SMCHS uses the High School Placement Test (HSPT) from
Scholastic Testing Services (STS). The results of the exam are used to
help place your student in the most appropriate classes for their freshman
year. All testing materials will be supplied, including a snack, and no
calculators are allowed. If you have any questions about the SMCHS
Placement Exam, please contact the Admissions Office at 949-766-6076.
Is Financial Assistance available?
One in five students at our school receives tuition
assistance. Click here
for more information.
Are scholarships available?
Scholarships for juniors and seniors, as well as
scholarships to assist with college tuition, are made possible by alumni,
parents, friends and donors. Click here
If I am not Catholic, can I still attend SMCHS?
Santa Margarita is a diocesan Catholic high school open to
students of all faiths.
What league does Santa Margarita compete in?
SMCHS competes in the Trinity League which includes Mater
Dei, Orange Lutheran, Servite (Boys), Rosary (Girls), St. John Bosco and
to learn more about our athletic programs.
Are parents asked to donate to Santa Margarita?
Each year the school asks parents to contribute to the Eagle
Fund as well as participate in other giving opportunities. These voluntary,
tax-deductible donations make up the difference between tuition and the actual
cost of educating our students. Our school community is also encouraged to
support Blue & Gold, the school's annual benefit, through
attendance, donations or volunteering. Click here
to find out more on supporting Santa Margarita
Catholic High School.